Online Stores

Opening an online store can be a great way to earn a full-time income while still attending to other responsibilities such as caring for your children.

You can design your web site using HTML or web design software such as Microsoft FrontPage and Macromedia Dreamweaver. Free web hosting companies may seem like a good way to save money while operating online stores, but their services aren't reliable enough to make them an appropriate option for running a profitable business.

To start an online store you will need a product to sell. Smaller niche areas have less competition and are generally the easiest places to make a profit. Conducting your own market research will help you come up with a list of possible products to sell. You'll generally be the most successful selling a product that you are passionate about. Don't try to sell electronics at your online store if you still wouldn't know an iPod from a PDA.

It isn't necessary to purchase large amounts of inventory to open your online store. If you choose a distributor who offers drop shipping, you won't need to have any inventory on hand. The distributor will send out your orders for you in packaging labeled with your business name. Your customer won't even realize that the package didn't actually come from you.

Some direct sales companies offer the option of using online stores to sell their products over the Internet. This may seem like a good way to make money, but many direct sales companies don't offer a high enough commission on their products to keep your business running. A 20 percent commission may sound like a lot until you figure in the cost of your time, web hosting services, and marketing expenses.

Selling items on eBay online stores can be profitable, but you will need to come up with a unique angle to attract customers. Don't forget to figure in the cost of eBay's commissions when calculating your income.